Returning to St. Andrews

Posted
Returning to St. Andrews 

.

Greetings to all in the name of Jesus

I know many of you are very much looking forward to the opportunity to gather once again as the people of God. One of the great lessons (reminders) of the last couple months is that the church is God’s people. The work of the church can be anywhere God’s people find themselves. He dwells within His people, not in any particular building. The word of God accomplishes His purposes; it does not return to Him empty. 

 

Yet there is great joy in gathering together as God’s people. As the psalmist writes: 

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

 

The following outlines our plan for the next few weeks of reopening and gathering as God’s people here at St. Andrews. We recognize the various degrees of comfort our people have with this, and we are praying for unity of the body of Christ and a humble, honoring, and sacrificially-loving spirit as we come together as His people. 

 

Here are some general things to keep in mind:

  • We will continue our online worship indefinitely. We had already developed our live-stream capacities well before Covid-19 and will continue them as a part of our witness to the world. 

  • While we will respectfully follow current guidelines for gatherings of our size and kind, you must realize we cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. You must still educate yourself on the nature of the risks involved for your personal health and prayerfully make your own decisions as to the level of your participation in the gathered body of Christ
     

    .

This Sunday (May 31): 

Our online service will be live-streamed at 8:15AM, and communion-by-appointment will be offered to households in the courtyard afterward. There are still a few appointment slots available. Please go to our website at www.stalc.org to sign up.

 

Sundays of June 7, 14, and 21:

1. Our online service will be live-streamed at 8:15AM. 

 

2. At 9:30AM, 10:15AM, and 11:00AM, we are offering reservations for three expanded communion services in the Sanctuary. Each service can include up to 60 participants (around 25% of our capacity). Please go to our website at www.stalc.org or call 957-8750 to sign up.

 

3. Between 11:30AM-12:30PM, there are communion appointments for high-risk households. Please go to our website at www.stalc.org or call 957-8750 to sign up.

 

4. If you need communion brought to you, let our office know and we will work with you to make that possible.


What will these communion services look like?

Since the vast majority of clinical studies suggest that the primary form of transmission of the novel coronavirus is through the air, we will do everything possible to limit this sort of transmission. This means that we will:

  • Limit movement during the service.

  • Not be singing. We will have musicians playing preludes and postludes, but during this three-week transition period we will not be singing together. 

  • Not be passing offering plates. We are grateful for all of those who have sent in or switched their offerings online; though if you wish to bring your offering, you can place it in the offering plate when you exit the service.

  • Not be sharing the peace (the hug and shaking hands part of it) or having times of greeting after the service. 

By implementing these measures during the service, we will easily meet the state’s goal of limiting the time that people are together, limiting the amount of speaking that could introduce airborne particles, limiting movement that could stir up airborne pathogens, and reducing the number of surfaces that are touched by individuals. Our local authorities have said they will reevaluate these gatherings after three weeks. However you feel about their attempts at limiting the free exercise of our faith, we seek to demonstrate how essential the Church is and how we are willing to sacrifice for our community. 

Following the services, the sanctuary and restrooms will be disinfected to the best of our ability. 

We recognize our people have a spectrum of feelings. If this plan:

  1.  still in turmoil over this illness. Be patient and kind. Show your strength by the measure of your willingness to serve and care for others. Do not shame those more concerned than you, love them. This too shall pass.

  2. Concerns or frightens you: We encourage you to pray for unity and peace. Do not fear the things of this world; the worst they can do is take your life away here. You were made for eternity and have so much more to look forward to than anything this world offers. Do not shame or try to control those who are more comfortable than you and evaluate risk differently than you do. This too shall pass. 

  3. Makes you feel obligated to attend: Don’t do anything based on worries about what others might think. Prayerfully consider your own risk factors and what you are willing to do at this time. You are the steward of the body and life God has given you. Follow Jesus’ leading. We are here to help you grow in faith whether you re-engage immediately or prefer to wait awhile. Let us know how we can serve you.

  4. Annoys or angers you: We encourage you to pray for unity and peace. Be willing to sacrifice a little of your comfort for the sake of someone

     

    In keeping with current health guidelines, so that we leave no room for accusation against the Christian church, and so that we respect those of us concerned about this illness, all participants will follow all pertinent health recommendations before arriving:

    * Please stay home if you have had a cough, fever, shortness of breath, rash, or bodily aches in the last 14 days; or been in direct contact with someone who has

    * Wear masks except when receiving communion (please bring your own if you have one)

    * Wash your hands (or use provided hand sanitizer) as you enter the Sanctuary

    * Be checked with a touch-less thermometer and be asked to return home if you have a fever over 100.4 degrees. 

    * Practice social distancing while sitting/standing in the pews (areas have been pre-marked for household).

We thank God for all of you and look forward to reconnecting around the sacramental gifts of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are grateful for the loving spirit that has so often characterized the attitudes and actions of those at St. Andrews. May we continue to practice the love described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

God’s peace to you,

 

Pastor Dan

 

Total Views: 207 ,